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More public outreach to Kimberley property owners regarding invasive plants required, contractor says

Blueweed in the Forest Crowne area, one of the major areas of concern in Kimberley. Spectrum file

Kimberley Council heard a presentation from Nathan O’Reilley of Spectrum, the company that manages the Invasive Plant Program in the city, at their regular meeting on January 22, 2024.

O’Reilley gave an update on the 2023 program and made recommendations about future work.

One of the significant changes in 2023 was the reduction of the use of Glyphosate treatments. The use of this chemical did generate a lot of public comment, mostly negative, in previous years. Sites that were Glyphosate only treatment areas were removed from the work plan in 2023, which resulted in nine less sites being treated.

However, chemical control is still the primary treatment in Kimberley, as mechanical treatment such as dead-heading are so time consuming. Spectrum switched to the use of Clearview (active ingredient Aminopyrali) this year, and the public reaction to this was positive, O’Reilley said.

They followed a priority system recommended by the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council. In essence the system directs treatment to plants that can be controlled while not treating species that are so common throughout the EK that treating them is almost futile. Spotted knapweed is one of those species.

The biggest target in Kimberley is Blueweed. O’Reilley says Blueweed is quite pretty, but also quite toxic to animals. It invades pastures and rangelands replacing forage plants and can produce 2800 seeds per plant, per year.

In all 95 sites, with an infestation area of !8.1 hectares were treated last year, which is less sites than the previous year, but O’Reilley said they felt that they managed them better.

One issue Spectrum hopes to improve next year is that of invasive plants on private property. What Spectrum is proposing is developing a door knocker program to educate landowners about invasives on their properties. Not only would this increase awareness, but would also allow for creation of an inventory of what properties have invasive plants.

He said they have been running a similar program in Prince Rupert for the past ten years and it has proved very successful.

There are sites within the city that cannot be treated with pesticides, such as any site near water. These do require mechanical treatment. Spectrum recommends trying to organize community weed pulls to deal with those sites, and also increasing the budget to allow for more mechanical treatments.

All sites treated in 2023 will be visited again in 2024.

READ: Public outreach on invasive weeds needed in Kimberley, Council told

Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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